Oppenheimer’s Profound Remorse: The Weight Of The Atomic Bombings Haunted Robert Oppenheimer Until His Last Days

    Robert Oppenheimer
    Robert Oppenheimer : "The Father of Atomic Bombs"

    Robert Oppenheimer was born in 1904 in New York City, USA. He was an American Theoretical Physicist who played a major role during World War II. He had intense knowledge of physics, nuclear theory, astronomy, and quantum field theory. Oppenheimer’s educational qualifications were the base of his directorship in Los Alamos Laboratories.

    He also played a significant role in the Manhattan Project, in the prospect of making the first nuclear weapons for war. Oppenheimer was also called the “Father of Atomic Bombs”. His contribution to the field of weaponry led to the victory of the US in World War II against Japan.

    Initial Feelings Of Robert Oppenheimer About Nuclear Bomb

    In 1945, The US Air Force dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two major cities in Japan. Eventually, the bombing brought major devastation to the cities, killing and injuring thousands of people. And Oppenheimer was gleeful when the Los Alamos Labs received the information regarding the devastation.

    Robert claimed that they should have had these weapons when they were fighting against the Germans. And that not having them at that time was his only regret. The death of thousands of people had not bothered the scientist when they were celebrating victory.

    Oppenheimer’s Guilt

    But soon enough, Oppenheimer started feeling guilty about the murder of thousands of innocent people. He started to feel that he was responsible for the loss of innocent lives and that the bombings on the cities were unnecessary. He stated that he felt like he had blood on his hands. His guilt and dilemma were brought in front of the then President, Harry S Truman when they met in the White House in October of 1945.

    The President questioned Oppenheimer’s dilemma to which he answered “Mr. President, I feel I have blood on my hands,”. This statement was stated in the book “American Prometheus,” by authors Kai Bird and Martin J Sherwin.

    Although the president did assure Oppenheimer to not carry the guilt around in his heart, he was secretly infuriated by the condition. The president justified saying that he has more blood on his hands than the scientist. And that he would not aid such a “crybaby scientist”.

    The president later went ahead to prohibit Oppenheimer from meeting him. Years later, Oppenheimer’s grandson, Charles Oppenheimer revealed that his grandfather had failed to convince the president and that he gave the right advice to the president. Which, he refused to listen to. Oppenheimer had come under grief for not convincing the president and rather giving him the opportunity to take plenty of lives.

    Oppenheimer’s life is now once again in the limelight with Christopher Nolan’s new movie Oppenheimer starring Cillian Murphy in the titular role.

    Read: What Are Public Reaction And Reviews Of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer?